How to Make a Timeline for a School Project

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You can use a timeline to showcase events in history in a clear manner. Timelines are a visual method of storytelling. They can be used in any subject to present historical events in chronological order. For school projects, timelines can be used to present your knowledge or research on a topic and that classmates and teachers can easily understand.

  • Ruler
  • Poster board
  • Markers

1 Pick the events

Pick the events you will use for the timeline. Your poster board has limited space, so the events should be important points in the period of time you are presenting.

2 Draw a straight line on the poster

Draw a straight line on the poster board. Pick a position in the middle of the poster board to place the ruler horizontally. Using a pencil, trace a straight line along the edge of the ruler. If necessary, carefully reposition the ruler to continue drawing the straight line. This line is the center line.

3 Draw event

Draw event marks on the center line. These lines will be perpendicular to the center line. The event marks should be evenly spaced across the timeline. Use the ruler to measure event marks 3 to 5 inches apart. Draw one small perpendicular line for each event you need to display. For example, if you have 10 events, make 10 evenly spaced small marks along the center line.

4 Check your lines

Check your lines. Stand a few feet away to make sure it is neat and straight. Ask a friend or family member to look at it with you to double check. If the line needs correcting, use an eraser and adjust it.

5 Trace

Trace the timeline and event marks with a marker. This will make it easier to see and read for presenting. You can use the ruler if it helps steady your hand. Use the marker to draw longer event marks over the original pencil marks.

6 Label the event marks

Label the event marks. Write each of your events below the end point of the event marks in chronological order from left to right. Above the event mark line, add the date the event happened. Use the pencil to draft and if it looks good, trace it with a fine point marker.

7 Label the timeline

Label the timeline. At the top of the poster board, add the title of your timeline. For instance, if the events you use are about Martin Luther King Jr., label the timeline "The Life of MLK".

8 Decorate the poster board

Decorate the poster board. This may be optional but will add another visual element for your project and make it more attractive. You can use pictures that represent the events in your timeline or draw words and images relevant to your project.

  • For fewer events, use higher spacing for event marks (5 inches) and for more events, use lower spacing (3 or 4 inches).

Iam Jaebi has been writing since 2000. His short story, "The Alchemist," reached over 250,000 readers and his work has appeared online in Thaumotrope and Nanoism. His novel, "The Guardians," was released in 2010 by Imagenat Entertainment. Jaebi is also a business writer specializing in company naming, concept designs and technical writing. He graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering.